30.09.15. Birdlog

30.09.15. Birdlog30.09.15. Mersey Estuary from Weston Village. Bill Morton (2)

30.09.15. No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThere’s been some excellent autumn weather of late and each evening the sunset spectacle over the Welsh hills are reflected in the amber hues on the Mersey Estuary. Then if you throw in the works at Ineos Chlor and Hale lighthouse it gives it a little perspective (of sorts).

On the birding front the continued high water level on No.6 tank is favourable for ducks but alas not for shorebirds. However, Sean managed a healthy flock of 500 Black-tailed Godwit on the Weaver Bend after work with 350 Redshank, 2 Ruff and singles of both Common Sandpiper and Dunlin.

30.09.15. Shoveler (female), No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I on the other hand could only manage: 520 Common Teal, 12 Gadwall, 36 Shoveler, 14 Pintail, 30 Wigeon, 121 Mallard, 7 Common Shelduck and 240 Tufted Duck, 8 Mute Swan, 27 Cormorant and not a lot of anything else.

Observers: Sean O’Hara, WSM (and images).

28.09.15. Wind Farm Construction Update

27.09.15. Wind Farm construction, Frodsham Marsh. Shaun Hickey

The above image is a little Roswellesque and may (or may not) have landed on Frodsham Marsh. Alien conspiracies apart, there are two bases (?) on the Lordship Marsh adjacent to Lordship Lane. The first is close to the motorway and is situated by the blue slurry tank/silo and the other is in positioned in the first field immediately east of the Growhow works.

24.09.15. Wind Farm construction, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh

The urgency of the construction of the wind turbines for the Frodsham Marsh Wind Farm is matched by a small number of over eager workers and their urgency in getting from A to B. The vehicles are racing along and kicking up clouds of dust from the tracks during this period of dry weather. If CHC contractors are reading this then 15 mph is the speed limit.

24.09.15. Pile Driver on No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

24.09.15. Wind Farm construction, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh..24.09.15. Wind Farm construction, No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh.These series of images show work from Lordship Marsh (image 1) and No.5 tank where the stanchions are being pile driven in place.

Image 1 by Shaun Hickey. Images 2-5 by WSM.

27.09.15. Birdlog

27.09.15. Birdlog

A walk from Ince along Lordship Lane to the ramp track onto No.4 tank and then back again.

26.09.15.Open water of No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)There were six Kestrel all of which were combining their hunting tactics. It could be a combination of habitat loss and/or a good breeding season that is attracting the numbers of Kestrel to the area but whatever it is, its welcome. Adding to the raptor theme was a couple of Sparrowhawk. Two Peregrine were hanging about the Growhow Works and there’s no-show without the ubiquitous Common Buzzard.

The Holpool Gutter attracted 2 Grey Wagtail while along the hedgerows a bounding flock of 20 Long-tailed Tits pulled along a couple of Blue Tit.

Finches were again abundant 50-60 Goldfinch with a few Linnet in tow. The birds were twitchy and couldn’t settle for long with the attention of a Sparrowhawk testing their defences. Yet another Goldfinch flock at the back of the works contained 30 birds.

Four Reed Bunting were scattered along the gutter edges with seemingly a Wren every few metres.

Two Wheatear were feeding in the wind turbine compound while 4 Stonechat  hung out along the Growhow pipeline.

The field adjacent to the pallet compound was getting a fair coating of shit from the farmers muck spreader and this in turn attracted 300 Black-headed Gull, 6 Raven, and a hundred Jackdaw and Rook. I guess once he’s finished this job it’ll bring in a few other species.

The walk ended with a small (12) south bound Swallow flock.

Observer: Shaun Hickey.

27.09.15. Water Rail, Frodsham Marsh. Alyn Chambers (1)

The Cetti’s Warbler was still singing along the north bank of No.6 tank this morning but didn’t show. Also present were a Water Rail, a male Stonechat and a Reed Warbler. Amongst the ducks on the tank were 2 Pochard, 13 Pintail and 10 Wigeon.

27.09.15. Coal Tit, Brook Furlong Lane, Frodsham Marsh. Alyn Chambers (2)
Six Coal Tit made their way through the trees by the ramp up to No.1 tank where also a Grey Wagtail flew east and a Mistle Thrush flew north. 2 Goldcrest were along Brook Furlong Lane and another Coal Tit was later seen at the Splashing Pool.
2 Avocet were out on the Mersey Estuary at low tide.
Also seen across the Marsh were: 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Jay, 5 Skylark, 40 Long-tailed Tit, 11 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap and a Whitethroat.

Observer: Alyn Chambers (images 3-4)

Images: WSM

26.09.15. Birdlog

26.09.15. Birdlog

26.09.15. (winter) Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

26.09.15. (winter) Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (3)A splendid day to be out and about birding on Frodsham Marsh. I met Simon from Manchester at the eastern corner of No.6 tank and after a chat about his Svalbard summer jaunt, it was a sub-singing Cetti’s Warbler which broke the conversation and brought us both back to a spot of birding. The Cetti’s was tucked into an Elder bush and gave very brief views as it moved through the leafy branches before throwing its song which bounce about in the amphitheatre of the tank walls.

A text from MacDuff and we soon located the relocated Black-necked Grebe after a week’s absence. I’m sure it doesn’t leave No.6 tank but secretes itself into the banks and remains undetected during midweek.

26.09.15. Flying Little Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

I was having a day off counting ducks but the whole of the open water was filled with them. Wigeon, Pintail, Common Teal, Common Shelduck, Common Pochard, Gadwall, Mallard, Pintail and the ever-present Tufted Duck.

26.09.15. (eclipse) drake Common Teal, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

26.09.15. The northern banks of No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA kettle of 17 Common Buzzard were circling high over No.5 tank and a Peregrine hurtled out towards Frodsham Score.

A small movement of 50 Meadow Pipit were on and over No.5 tank and small flocks of House Martin and Swallow were moving west with the occasional Siskin calling overhead.

The Great White Egret was sighted from there earlier in the day (Dave Craven) and the same observer was vigilant when watching the spiraling raptors over at Within Way, Hale he spotted a Common Crane which flew from the direction of Frodsham Marsh.

26.09.15.Open water of No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Observers: Simon, Frank Duff, WSM (images 1-6).

Merlin female, 26 Oct 2015 Frodsham Marsh. Roger Wilkinson

A female Merlin was sat out on the fence line by the pipes on No.1 tank and watched a flock 200 strong Goldfinch charm.

Observer: Roger Wilkinson (image 7)

24.09.15. Birdlog

24.09.15. Birdlog

24.09.15. Sunset at Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

A fine evening awaited me at the end of the working day and birding on the marsh beckoned.

24.09.15. Pile Driver on No.5 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

The pile driver was hard at work close to the ramp track onto No.5 tank and for the short period it was active, this was enough to nurture a banging headache (well, a minor tremor). A shooter popping off Wood Pigeons was acting as judge and executioner on the fields along Lordship Lane. The Tufted Duck were in relative security on No.6 tank but a little wary and probably weary of the shooting nearby. The ducks took nervously to the wing on several occasions but, when the noise settled to a distant din, I settled down to count the duck scattered across the open water.

24.09.15. Wigeon, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

24.09.15. Tufted Ducks, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

The Tufted Duck were typically clustered together and numbered 267 birds. Common Teal were the most numerous species but they generally kept close to and in the margins of the Michaelmas Daisy beds with an estimate of 400 birds. Both Shoveler and Gadwall were in double figures while Wigeon were a surprise count with 37 birds widespread on the tank. 30 Cormorant and 9 Mute Swan were also present while 400 House Martin and 100 Swallow made up the rest of the cast.

24.09.15.Peregrines on blue-topeed chimney from Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (11)

24.09.15.Peregrines on blue-topeed chimney from Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (12)24.09.15. Flowers at Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonA visit to Marsh Farm at dusk was rewarded with seeing the Peregrines perched up for the night on the blue-topped chimney. The adult female was a massive girl and she dwarfed the male, being twice his size.

Observer and images: WSM

22.09.15. Birdlog

22.09.15. Birdlog

22.09.15. StonechatNo.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

22.09.15. Wheatear, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.It was quite blustery on our way to the River Weaver from Brook Furlong Lane this evening. After negotiating the over friendly cows on the restricted byway adjacent to Redwall reedbed we eventually reached the river. The effort put in didn’t warrant the outlay but it’s always pleasing to see a flotilla of 12 Little Grebe engaging in a spot of water bobbing on the river. Also noted were 120 Tufted Duck gathered against the wooden jetty to avoid the buffeting wind.

22.09.15. Wheatear, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton.

Walking back and taking a diversion onto Alder Lane we reached the pipes that cross No.1 tank where 6 Wheatear were gathered out of the wind and further along the track was a male and female Stonechat which kept hopscotching along the fence line.

Observers: Sparky, WSM (and images).

21.09.15. Birdlog

21.09.15. Birdlog

21.09.15. Wigeon, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh

A couple of hours birding after work and with the weather alternating between dull and sunny I thought a watch over No.6 tank may produce some decent birds.

21.09.15. Wigeon, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh.The Tufted Duck flock like the weather alternates between 100 and 300 birds and to cover the middle ground (or water) 200 birds were present this evening. Also present were 3 Pochard, 43 Mallard, 12 Gadwall, 34 Shoveler, 10 Pintail, 170 Common Teal, 45 Common Shelduck and 26 Wigeon.

A Sparrowhawk sailed by and 2 Kestrel hunted the tank beds. While four Common Buzzard were soaring high over Helsby Hill.

A mixed flock of 200 Swallow and House Martin were feeding low over the water and 3 Chiffchaff and a juvenile Reed Warbler were moving through the reed beds.

Observer and images: WSM

19.09.15. Birdlog

19.09.15. Birdlog

19.09.15. Don Weedon and Tony Broome, No.4 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

19.09.15. Water Skiers, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonIn retrospect this should have been Tony’s guest blog from last week, but he saved the best finds for his visit today.

The morning mist in the Weaver Valley was reluctant to lift and it wasn’t until later on before the warm sunshine began to burn it away. A walk out to the Weaver Estuary was just in time to see several hundred Canada Geese fly in from the east and alight on the river. Unfortunately and immediately a flight of ducks from the direction of the Weaver Sluices was the result of a water sports boat and skier riding up and down the river and disturbing the waterfowl. Another sign of recreational pleasures disrupting the bird life on these marshes.

19.09.15. Raven, Frodsham Score with Hale Lighthouse beyond, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton (2)

Out in the morning heat haze on Frodsham Score was a Great White Egret.

Marsh Farm was eventually bathed in glorious sunshine with passage migrants flying over which included: 7 Redpoll (presumed Lesser), 11 Siskin with singles of Grey Wagtail, 4 Pied and 2 White Wagtail, a small passage of Meadow Pipits and Skylark. A female Sparrowhawk was seen on its way by a tiny flock of Swallow. Two Greenland Wheatear were along the pipe on No.1 tank.

19.09.15. Osprey, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (2)

Further west and things were developing nicely for Mr Broome when 10 (red-headed) Goosander flew west at 09.40 along the Manchester Ship Canal as seen from the banks of No.4 tank. This was soon followed by an Osprey emerging from the mist and heading south over No.3 tank at 10.25 am.

19.09.15. Sparrowhawk, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome

A couple Redpoll (presumed Lesser) flew south high over the tank with two Yellow Wagtail noted moving north and south and a Siskin flew high to the south. Hirundines are not sticking about and a steady trickle of 200 Swallow, 80 House Martin and 20 Sand Martin were notable. Associated with these migrants was 20 Skylark ‘churruping’ their way south. Perhaps, the highlight of the passerine movement was a Coal Tit that paused briefly by the old pumping station for a 30 minute rest. At the same location and presumably part of the passage was a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Collared Doves are an unusual species on the outer marsh and one flew out across the Mersey Estuary, it was again presumed to be a migrant.

19.09.15. Common Teal, Canal Pools, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (2)

Along the Manchester Ship Canal were three Fox cubs enjoying a drink and hiding away from unfriendly eyes. Two Common Sandpiper were also seen here where a Kingfisher was noted.

19.09.15. Merlin, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (2)

19.09.15. Merlin, No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (1)Apart from the top raptor sighting of the day there was also some good supporting cast to add to the tally. Three Common Buzzard, 2-3 Sparrowhawk, a Hobby soaring and hunting No.4 tank after midday. Three Kestrel one of which chased a Merlin west at 14.00. The Merlin was an early record.

The Tufted Duck numbers on No.6 tank reached a new autumn high with 316 birds alondside 6 Pintail, Gadwall, Common Teal, Common Pochard, Shoveler also in good numbers. A Garganey was flushed from the Canal Pools and flew out to No.6 tank where it was lost in the clumps pf Michaelmas Daisy flower beds.  A further 17 Wigeon were also noted over Frodsham Score.

19.09.15. Vulcan over No.3 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Tony Broome (1)

19.09.15. Vulcan over Marsh Farm, Frodsham Marsh. Bill MortonThe arrival of the Vulcan aircraft en route to the Southport Air Show provided a diversion from the birding mid afternoon when it flew in from the direction of Helsby then over No.3 tank/Marsh Farm before banking over Liverpool airport and heading north-west.

19.09.15. Canada Geese, Weaver Estuary, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Butterflies and Dragonflies were also enjoying the sunshine with 20 Small Tortoiseshell, 20 Small White and several Migrant Hawker Dragonflies.

19.09.15. Sunshine over No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

Observer: Tony Broome (images 4-9) with records from Frank Duff, Don Weedon, Paul Ralston, WSM (image 1-3 & 10-12).

16.09.15. Birdlog

16.09.15. Birdlog

16.09.15. Shoveler, Black-necked & Little Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Bill Morton

16.09.15. Black Tern, Weaver Bend, Frodsham Marsh. Mike GiverinWe’re celebrating two whole weeks of Black-necked Grebe attendance on No.6 tank and tonight it was associating with a Little Grebe and like Wesley Snipes said in the film ‘Passenger 57‘ “always bet on black”. So, earlier in the day Mike Giverin found a Black Tern on the Weaver Bend which was twitched successfully by Mr Duff (well done to both). However, it was not available for a viewing when I knocked off work (sad face icon inserted here…).

Frivolity apart, there was a sizable build up of Little Grebe on the Weaver Estuary with a flock of 17 birds and this goes to show a successful breeding season for that species locally. A couple of Common Sandpiper were quarreling on the river edge while Great Crested Grebe and 45 Coot were part of an autumn build up here.

The Peregrine continues to use the blue-topped chimney at Weston Point and was watching lordly across the marsh.

No.6 tank was awash with ducks which included: 254 Tufted Duck, 14 Shoveler, 23 Gadwall, 17 Shelduck, 49 Mallard with 7 Pintail, 12 Wigeon and 120 Common Teal.

Observers: Mike Giverin (image 2), Frank Duff, WSM (image 1)

15.07.15. Birdlog

15.07.15. Birdlog

15.09.15. Black-tailed Godwit, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

15.09.15. Goldfinch inmoult, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

An afternoon walk to see if I could connect with the leucistic Swallow that had been seen in the area yesterday. I started down Brook Furlong Lane where the first of many Chiffchaff were seen and heard. A Goldfinch with a pale head was feeding on the roadside weeds.

15.09.15. Stonechats, No.1 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

There were 4 Stonechat on the fence by Marsh Farm and two more were in the reeds along the Weaver Bank. A large flock of Curlew sat the tide out on the Mersey bank and were joined by Cormorant and Shelduck. On the River Weaver were a dozen Black-tailed Godwit and a single Common Sandpiper which flew down river as did several Redshank. On to No.6 tank and even more Chiffchaff with at least 2 Willow Warbler were in the Elderberry bushes.

15.09.15. Black-necked Grebe, No.6 tank, Frodsham Marsh. Paul Ralston

The Black-necked Grebe was showing well and spent a good twenty minutes preening close in to the near bank . Alas no sign of the white Swallow.

Observer and images: Paul Ralston